If you’ve ever traversed Abbot Kinney Blvd., during a February escape to Los Angeles, then surely you’ve passed by Gjelina, the perpetually packed Cal-Italian, farm-to-table hotspot of Venice legend known for its wood-fired veggies, pizzas, and Butterscotch Pots de Crême.
Nearly six years after New Yorkers first learned of plans for a NYC location, the Cali-based hotspot Gjelina recently announced via the restaurant’s official IG that the project is finally coming to fruition with a new tentative opening date for the late summer of 2022.
At the time this Big Apple expansion was originally reported, backing the venture were then-owners Fran Camaj, Travis Lett, and Shelley Armistead, in addition to a financial collaboration with Ken Friedman and chef April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig. However, in light of the many harassment accusations from employees of the Spotted Pig, which caused the restaurant to close in 2020, the partnership between the two parties came to an end and brought the pursuit to a halt. And while it’s not entirely clear who is involved in this summer’s opening, according to Eaterit will be without Lett, who reportedly left the company in 2019.
Occupying a space located at 45 Bond Street in the cool NYC neighborhood of NoHo, the second Gjelina restaurant will be the first endeavor on the East Coast for the Gjelina Group.
Originally opened on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in 2008 by founder Fran Camaj, the eatery is named after Camaj’s mother and quickly became a Venice community favorite for their locally-sourced ingredients and produce-forward offerings courtesy of their close relationships with Southern Californian farmers, ranchers, fishers, and co-ops.
Since its inception, the Gjelina Group has also expanded their repertoire to include nearby Los Angeles storefronts such as Gjusta, a bakery and cafe; Gjusta Goods, a retail store; Gjusta Grocer, a marketplace; and Gjusta Flower Shop. In an effort to give back to the community, the group also runs a nonprofit called Gjelina Foundation, an organization focused on providing food and art to students in Venice, as well as Gjusta Studios, which are spaces used for creative residencies by local talent.
Presumably, the Gjelina brand will stay true to its signature New American concept of salads, grilled vegetable dishes, and wood-fired pizzas as it travels across the country (although menu specifics have yet to be confirmed).
Gjelina is slated to open at 45 Bond Street in NoHo in late summer 2022. Stay tuned for more updates via the restaurant group’s Instagram account.
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